A bit of timeless -- and timely -- wisdom, from an old standby:
"We are at present in a transition stage, nor is the manner nor occasion of the end in sight. Still this is no time to despair. I have often noticed in these Afghan valleys, that they seem to be entirely surrounded by the hills, and to have no exit. But as the column has advanced, a gap gradually becomes visible and a pass appears. Sometimes it is steep and difficult, sometimes it is held by the enemy and must be forced, but I have never seen a valley that had not a way out. That way we shall ultimately find, if we march with the firm but prudent step of men who know the dangers; but, conscious of their skill and discipline, do not doubt their ability to deal with them as they shall arise."
So wrote the 23-year-old Winston Churchill at the end of his first book, "The Story of the Malakand Field Force," recounting his adventures subduing a religiously inspired tribal uprising in the Swat and Malakand Valleys on the northwest frontier of British India. You may have heard of these places.
Frankly, the book's pretty hard to read these days without seeing a whole lot of interesting parallels and contrasts -- both sobering and emboldening -- between his situation and ours. At least it good to know that someone's been there before.